Category Archives: Sales
I have complied a large collection of sales quotes over the past 2 years. Here are my five favourites:
- Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble – Frank Tyger
- Become the differentiator. What you sell can be copied but you can’t – Jill Konrath
- Stop selling. Start helping – Zig Ziglar
- Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect – W. Clement Stone
- If you’re speaking and not getting a reaction, well, you are just making a speech – Unknown
I would love to know what your favourite sales and/or business quote is.
Send me an email at TimMushey@gmail.com and I will share the top 5 responses early in 2014!
A short time ago, I received a special gift from somebody that I admire greatly. It was totally unexpected, but I was very grateful for the gesture. Some people just think “give first”, and those people have it figured out. In this case I am certain that it is not a business strategy, rather it is just who he is.
The gentlemen’s name is Bob Burg. I did not ask him for anything; we had just been having dialog about an online purchase I had recently made of one of his audio cds. In return, I got a very unexpected gift. And I LOVE telling the story now.
A couple of weeks back, I spoke to another “giver”, Mr. Paul Castain. Of course, I told the story about what Bob had done for me. Paul’s response,
“Tim, I have heard one thousand of those stories about Bob”.
My only response was “WOW”.
I need to be clear about something. When I use the phrase “give-first mentality”, I don’t mean to give everything away for free. Last time I looked, businesses are developed to drive revenue, but hopefully change lives for the better as well.
The “extract value from people as soon as possible so you can ride off in to the sunset” strategy does not sit well with me. I truly believe if you “give-first”, good things will happen for you.
Don’t kid yourself, those who are paying attention know who the “value extractors” and the “value givers” are. Everyone claims to understand this concept, but do they really?
Here is one of my favourite quotes from Bob Burg:
“All the great fortunes in the world have been created by men and women who had a greater passion for what they were giving – their product, service or idea – than for what they were getting. And many of those great fortunes have been squandered by others who had a greater passion for what they were getting than what they were giving.”
You can check out Bob’s fantastic content (especially his new book “Adversaries Into Allies”) over at:
Typically November is the time of year when sales reps decide if they can make a push to reach their goals (if they are not there yet), or “pack it in” until January 1st.
One year in the mattress business, I was lagging behind as mid-November hit. I was frustrated that the results were not there, and I was not “feeling it” anymore. Shortly after the “pity party”, my boss gave me a wake up call – and said that I could still do this. A trip for two including airfare and hotel to an exotic location was on the line for my wife and I. Giving up was not an option. We were able to qualify for awesome trips if annual goals were achieved.
I fully revised my account strategies. I went to the extremes as part of the plan. I evaluated how to get added business from the highest growth accounts, and the ones that were struggling too. I remember thinking to myself,
“I have to call that guy”?
Yep even the accounts that I did not like, I reached out.
I planned promotions, strategized with other reps, and squeezed every ounce of potential business out of the territory, without over stocking customers unnecessarily. My plan worked to perfection.
On December 30, I remember returning from holidays and going in to my home office for the best “fax of my life”. That was about 10 years ago – faxing was still cool -:)
My boss sent me the monthly goal update early, because I had achieved – I achieved by .5%!!!!!
I was so excited. I performed when the chips were down, when I could have easily “taken the rest of the year off”. Sorry Managers, it does happen.
I won’t end this with some big rah-rah you can do it pep talk!
Instead, just 4 words!
Believe, Plan, Implement, Smile (like crazy when you hit your numbers)!
ps. If you knew that question “So You’re Saying There’s A Chance?” was from the movie “Dumb and Dumber” staring Jim Carrey, you were right!
My first job out of university was with a car rental company. One of the key statistics that we were “graded” on was what percentage of customers purchased the $0 deductible coverage on each rental.
When I started to sell it, I was unsure of my pitch, hesitated often, and I didn’t believe in the value of the service.
One super-star in the office sold a higher percentage of the coverage then the rest of us . I started to watch him sell as often as I could, but it was difficult to get a read on his secrets to success.
I discovered a great way to find out what his “secrets” were. I asked him 🙂
His answer was powerful, yet simple.
“I expected to sell it to every customer. I had the mindset that there was no reasons that they should not buy it. What better time to have worry-free driving then when their car was in the shop or they were going on holidays. I was confident in my sales pitch, and acted surprised if they declined initially. Those objections still typically converted in to sales”.
When I shifted my mindset from “I hope to sell it” to “I expect to sell it” – it was a game changer for me. I still had to practice my pitch, learn to handle objections and be ready for all scenarios; but that expectation of success steadily improved my results.
- Can you reflect upon a time in your career when you felt confident selling something vs. being a little unsure of yourself?
- Describe what the difference in results were when you expected success?
- If you are not as confident as you should be now with what you are selling, what changes can you make to gain positive momentum?
“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” – Arnold H. Glasow
All I have ever known is hard work. It started as a kid when I was:
- attempting to perfect songs at piano lessons to prepare for recitals and/or exams
- playing sports
- washing dishes at a buffet restaurant, or working at a golf course
I was never the most talented at any of these things, but my hard work, dedication and commitment set me apart from others over the years.
My wife and decided to rip out our old flooring on the main level of our home in the spring of 2012, and replace it with new hardwoods. In the kitchen, the old hardwood came out rather easily, but underneath was a bit of a surprise! There were two layers of linoleum, with an unimaginable amount of staples still stuck in to the sub floor. As I hummed and hawed about actually getting down on my hands and knees to take out the staples, I had to take a moment to reflect and remind myself how I had completed many other undesirable tasks in the past.
There have been many projects that I have completed over the years, and during each journey wanted to quit many times. Below is some of the “fun” that I have engaged in:
- I shovelled my two-story roof over a period of three days in hip deep snow. I would be up there for long periods of time, and even had to call my wife on a cell phone to pass me up food and water on occasion!
- We decided to get smaller pieces of sod once when we cut down shrubs in our back yard, rather than the traditional long strips. This tripled my effort, but saved some money.
- I tried to salvage my poorly finished basement ceiling, by scraping off very old stipple, and then tried to repaint it.
- I removed a large flower bed of 10 to 20 lbs rocks to landscape the front of my house.
- I painted the interior of my 900 square foot condo & the interior of my two-story 1700+ square foot primary residences, both in short turn around times.
Being in the sales profession for well over a decade now, things like call reporting (and using CRM software), forecasting & handling services issues were certainly not things that I jumped out of bed to do over the years. Early in my career, I was lucky enough to wrap my head around the fact that this was all part of the process. Keeping up with required tasks allowed me to focus on more enjoyable parts of the roles like engaging customers and making sales.
I suspect that you don’t want to be on your boss’ radar for becoming known as somebody who does not keep up with reporting and other administrative tasks. Make this part of your daily routine. Trust me from experience. DO NOT wait until Friday afternoon to do all of your administrative work for the week. Use it as a time to tie it all together.
Oh yeah, back to pulling out an “endless supply” of staples from my kitchen floor last spring. I just kept my head down, and pulled those staples out, no matter how much my body hurt, keeping the vision in my mind of how awesome our home would look when it was all done.
You can read all the books, and study all the theories about what motivates people to do what they need to do to be successful in life. But it all comes back to you – you and your will to get through the “not so fun tasks” is the key so you can look forward to the fun parts of your job and of your life.
Accomplishing a task is the satisfaction, and that is my primary goal every time I work towards completing something that I really do not want to do.
- How do you motivate yourself to complete professional and personal tasks that you don’t like to do?
- How deep do you have to dig when all you want to do is lie on the couch sometimes, and avoid all the undesirable things on your “To Do List?”
Shortly after I started my first outside sales role, I traveled 9 hours from my home office to see a small account. I continued to see them on a semi-regular basis even though growth potential was limited. I made that nasty trip two more times in the first year.
In some warped sense of reality, I thought I would impress my boss by doing the extensive travel.
The two other painfully long trips and lack of growth in the second year gave me an “ah-ha” moment!
I realized that these trips were not productive uses of my time. I ended up dropping them altogether the year after when sales diminished to almost nothing.
I would sign up any account early in my career, because that is how sales people are wired right? When you are on commission, every sale counts, so you have even more incentive to bring on new business. True, but only to a point.
What I soon realized is if negotiations with a prospect are difficult and time-consuming, there is a real possibility that they will continue to give challenges as a customer in the future. This is not true all the time. But I have “broken up” with prospects before we have had our “first date”.
I learned a very valuable lesson from an ex-manager several years ago. He stated,
“The best business deals occur when both parties give something to the deal”
Rarely do business relationships work when one party gives, gives, gives and the other party gladly takes, takes takes.
I have dealt with customers who were always upset and/or angry with myself and the organizations I was working for. Although these occurrences were rare, I ended up letting them go too. There was negative energy, and since they were smaller with respect to revenue, it was an easy decision based on the value of my time.
I serviced the occasional account who did not support my companies at all, but were more than happy to ask for pricing when a customer specifically requested our products. Eventually they were dropped too. Those were very sad relationships!
Selective = Success
Once I realized that every company is not a suitable business partner, I gained much better perspective on my account base and territory in general. Some tough decisions were made, but at the end of the day I focused my attention on the accounts that had the most growth potential.
- When was the last time you looked at your customer base and identified troublesome relationships?
- Can you scale back the time you spend with them, or drop altogether?
- On the flip side… Do you spend enough time with your largest customers?
Tom Petty was right. The waiting is the hardest part!
We always seem to be waiting. On the surface waiting sucks, but why not take advantage of the down time? Waiting can equal learning while you are:
- Waiting for, or riding public transportation
- Commuting to work and/or driving to meetings
- Waiting for an appointment
- Waiting in line at a store
- Waiting on a golf course between holes
… You the idea. There are many other examples.
- When you are on public transportation or waiting anywhere with respect to your role, have some “catalog time” with your company’s literature. It is incredible how much more comfortable I became with catalogs by focusing on them as little as 10 minutes per day.
- When you are commuting to work in your vehicle, or driving to appointments, listen to podcasts or audio books that will help you with business and/or personal development.
- When you are waiting for a business appointment, go over your notes to prepare and focus before the call. Don’t get distracted by email or phone calls. That can wait until later
- When you are in line at a store, always be in engagement mode (check out earlier post here http://bit.ly/KAcGXS )
- If you are golfing with customers, take time to really get to know them when you are waiting between holes. You have their undivided attention.
I used to get VERY frustrated with all the waiting that goes on in everyday life. But now I embrace it, and get as much done during business hours when I have time to spare. If I have put everything in to my work during the day, it gives me more time to devote to my family out of “office hours”.
- Do you make valuable use of your “waiting”, or do you just waste time?
- If not, what improvements can you make going forward?
Remember, waiting can equal learning if you use your time wisely!
Let’s connect on Facebook! Stop by and “like” my page if you like what you see at:
I often tell people….
“I’m in sales, so I will always ask the question. The worst they can say is no”.
Although this logic may come across as a little generic and obvious, are you guilty of not asking a question because you think you already know the answer?
Some key situations where I have asked questions and had positive results include:
- Receiving referrals from current customers that would turn in to new business
- Offering other products that resulted in unexpected add-on sales
- In the mattress business, I would ask that my products be moved to higher visibility areas of stores to increase exposure
A couple of “fun ones” include:
- I have about a 95% success rate of returning products outside the return policy time frame and/or without a receipt
- I rented a beer sales representative a vehicle many years ago, and asked if I could sample some of his product upon return of the car. I was more joking than anything. To my surprise, he brought me back a case of beer on a Friday of a long weekend.
Two events happened recently that got me thinking about this topic again:
- I went to pick up 3 pizzas and new the restaurant owner quite well. I said, “Oh is it buy 2 get 1 free night?” He laughed and said “yeah right”. As I was about to walk away with my order he put a free order of garlic bread on top
- I was out for lunch with friends, and one of the guys got married over Christmas. The owner of the restaurant knew him, and when he walked over to say greet us, I mentioned the recent nuptials and how his meal show be free. It was a total joke, but the owner ended up taking care of his meal.
So what does this all mean?
The real “ah-ha” moment as I reflected back on these events was….
I planted the seeds to get the results that I wanted.
If I had not taken the time to ask questions with confidence and in a casual way, I would have never achieved the desired results.
When you are in sales, you need to get used to hearing the word “NO”. That is an occupational hazard of this line of work. If you can’t handle the rejection you are in the wrong industry. But a few tweaks to your mindset like I have illustrated can give you more positive results than you ever imagined.
So next time you are predicting a “NO” why not just ask anyways for the fun of it?
You may like the answer!
Recently my son decided that he did not want to play ice hockey this year. He was more interested in Tai Kwon Do and wanted to give it a try. My wife and I had several conversations with him to see if there was another underlying reason he wanted to stop playing “Canada’s National Sport”, but his passions just seemed to lie elsewhere.
Our stomachs initially felt weird thinking about missing all the great friends that we had made over the two winters while Elliot played hockey. I also felt sad about not coaching anymore because I really enjoyed being involved with the kids, and seeing them progress every time they laced about the skates.
My wife and I soon had a reality check. It is NOT about us. It is about our son and his happiness. We are going to support him 100% in whatever he chooses to do in life.
My thoughts quickly turned to the sales profession. So often people get caught up in their own agendas, goals and motivations, that they tend to forget that they are supposed to be acting in the best interests of customers and/or prospects.
- Remember the great quote from Frank Tyger,
“Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble”.
Don’t just “barf” your sales pitch on them.
Find out what they really want to buy!
I would love to hear your thoughts about a time that a sales rep acted in your best interests, or maybe a time that they did not.
How quickly from the start of an interaction did you know if it would be a good experience or not?
Thanks in advance for your contributions!
One last thing… I would love to connect on Facebook (if we are not already) at http://www.facebook.com/SellLeadSucceed